PROS / Priceline offers many different ways for you to save money on hotels and other travel services.
CONS / You cannot search for lodgings based on accommodation type.
VERDICT / If you're more interested in saving money on a hotel room than in whether your room has certain amenities, then Priceline is a good way for you to book hotels, as it guarantees good discounts with some sacrifices on hotel details.
Priceline is a full-service travel site that lets you book hotels, flights, rental cars and cruises. Besides William Shatner, Priceline's claim to fame is a variety of unique discount programs. While you can score some serious deals with these features, read the fine print to avoid any snags along the way. To make these features work for everyone, Priceline has lots of policies and qualifications that may have repercussions later.
The Name Your Own Price feature allows you to do exactly that. You can grab up to 60 percent off hotel rooms by setting bids. The catch is you can only select the price and neighborhood, not the hotel. Priceline sends your bid to a hotel in the neighborhood where you want to stay. If the hotel doesn't agree to your price, you have to rebid. This is a great feature if you don't have any specific preferences other than location. The standard rates for a hotel booking through Priceline are average compared to the other services we tested. Its average of $144.57 is about 32 percent higher than the cheapest hotel booking service in our review, and about 11 percent lower than the priciest site.
The company's Best Price Guarantee policy has conditions. It states that you'll get a full refund if you find a lower price for the same hotel. This lower price must include taxes and fees and be available to the public with the same currency and form of payment. In addition, it has to match with the itinerary booked on Priceline with a comparable cancellation policy.
When searching for a hotel on Priceline, you have several methods of filtering and organizing the results. Many of these features help you pinpoint the exact area you want to stay to avoid any cross-town rushes during your vacation. You can view results in a list or on a map, and search by address or hotel area. Priceline is one of the few hotel booking searches that allows you to type in a specific address. You can also look for hotels based on star ratings and amenities or set a price range to eliminate hotels out of your budget. However, you cannot search for a particular type of accommodation, such as a motel or condo.
Priceline covers the most essential information at the top of hotel pages. Here you can find guest reviews and ratings, hotel policies, and room availability. You can also see other hotels nearby, their star ratings and nightly rates.
Only one other hotel booking service offers as many customer support options as Priceline. You can read FAQs to find answers to common questions, or you can contact the support team by email, phone or live chat on the website. It's worth noting that Priceline is the only hotel booking site that requires customers to be 21 or older to reserve a hotel room.
If you're over 21 and have no special requests or preferences for your hotel, Priceline can help you score a deal with the Name Your Own Price or Best Price Guarantee features. However, these policies have conditions that may be a hassle later. You can't find a particular type of lodging through Priceline, but the site does include lots of information about the available hotels.